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Promethean biography
Perhaps the best description of the style of Promethean that I have heard is polymusic, integrating influences from across space and time. This makes sense given that the group has received little attention yet has been categorized as anywhere from doom metal to atmospheric folk. A more earthy description might be a Lapland child of JETHRO TULL and CAMEL.

The corporeal origins of Promethean lie in death metal cult band BLACK CRUCIFIXION in 1994, when vocalist Timo Iivari and multi-instrumentalist Esa Juujärvi had grown tired of the genre and aimed for a more measured, melodic and progressive approach with clean vocals. While they only produced two albums before disbanding as the millenium was approaching, they appear to have achieved their goals at least artistically.

This is an example of intensely sad and lonely music, reflecting the isolation and depression of living under the tyranny of the 24 hour winter night, that comes full arctic circle and is a spriritual triumph in its own right. Most recommended is their 1997 debut, "Gazing the Invisible".

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Gazing The InvisibleGazing The Invisible
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Somber RegardsSomber Regards
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PROMETHEAN discography

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3.30 | 6 ratings
Gazing the Invisible
3.09 | 3 ratings
Somber Regards

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Showing last 10 reviews only
 Gazing the Invisible by PROMETHEAN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.30 | 6 ratings

Gazing the Invisible
Promethean Eclectic Prog

Review by Matti
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Finnish PROMETHEAN were active between 1994-1998 and released two albums, this one being the debut. Interestingly the record deal was made with the Italian Avantgarde Music; back then the Finnish prog scene was struggling for life and was much more ignored by everybody else than today. The melancholic and basically quite pleasant rock of this album has elements from Folk, Gothic Metal and classically influenced Art Rock / Prog, but the depressed and mumbling expression of vocalist Timo Iivari underlines the group's Metal background, and for me is definitely the weakest link.

On the other hand, even I sometimes seek dark and sad emotions in music, and for that purpose I certainly prefer Iivari's understated, low key approach instead of more powerful and aggressive vocals. However I can't help thinking how much better this music would be with a "normal" singing. Especially with a suitable female voice it would probably be very delicious.

The sound is semi-acoustic, but it's mainly the flute that brings Folk ingredients (and also makes the frequent Jethro Tull and Camel references for this band, even if that may be an exaggeration in the end). Some tracks such as 'Gazing' feature also guest appearances for violin and cello. 'The' and 'Invisible' - not-so-clever wordplay on titles - are the instrumentals this album sincerely needed too. Without the vocals one can imagine listening to fairly good Prog Folk with classical music flavour in the arrangement.

The songwriting itself doesn't get very proggy. Another highlight with those instrumentals is 'The Kiss of All that Remained'. It's very atmospheric and sort of meditative with its percussion pattern, and the vocals in it are actually spoken (in fact they do approach spoken voice throughout the album). The final track 'Flowing Downwards' (10:37) stops as a song after 6½ minutes and continues quietly with only some water sound effects; it's debatable if that makes it any better listening experience, but as another remainder of the more artistic goals it's OK.

Judged against the starvating state of Finnish Prog of the time, PROMETHEAN were pretty interesting - and promising, though they ended perhaps too soon. By the way, a decade later, ORNE shares many features with them: the deeply melancholic and dark emotion, an audible Metal background especially on the vocals, appearance of flute, and two albums released by an Italian label.

 Gazing the Invisible by PROMETHEAN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.30 | 6 ratings

Gazing the Invisible
Promethean Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Hailing from Rovaniemi, Finland, Promethean evolved in 1994, when two former members of the Black Metal group Black Crucifixion, singer Timo llvari and bassist Esa Juujarvi, formed a trio along with guitarist Matti Selin.By the time of the first album ''Gazing the Invisible'' they were accompanied by drummer Sami Lehtiniemi and flute player Viljami Jauhiainen.This was released on Avantgarde label in 1997, featuring also some guest musicians on strings and guitars.

''Gazing the Invisible'' has nothing to do with Ilvari's and Juujarvi's past experiences, this one is a Heavy/Progressive Rock record with strong Psychedelic Rock doses, folky Scandinavian flavors and a light retro feeling.It contains both atmospheric and groovier tracks with good arrangements and grows with each listening.Some of them are more guitar-oriented with some nice psychedelic notes next to some more powerful moments, always accompanied by a strong string section or the driving flutes of Jauhiainen, very close to what would be a modern version of TRETTIOARIGA KRIGET meets JETHRO TULL.There are also moments when the music retains a strong CAMEL flavor, especially when the gears are down and the flute is more ethereal.While the whole album has a light folky vibe, a couple of tracks go more into this direction, sort of modern Psychedlic Folk tunes with an impressive atmosphere like the great ''The Kiss of All That Remained''.Vocals are an issue here, both in the singing parts and in the narrations.Very one-dimensional, rather dark and a bit distorted, they do not sound as succesful as the music, which however will definitely reward the listener.

Promethean's first effort is a very good eclectic mix of sounds.Folk, Heavy Rock, Classical Music and Psychedelic Rock, all these styles have plenty of room in Promethean's proposal, which additionally sounds very cohesive.Partly original and strongly recommended stuff despite the mediocre vocals...3.5 stars.

 Somber Regards by PROMETHEAN album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.09 | 3 ratings

Somber Regards
Promethean Eclectic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

3 stars Promethean followed their masterful debut just one year later with "Somber Regards", a lesser effort that sees the band dropping many of its dynamics in favour of a more consistently downbeat sentiment. Perhaps they saw the end near, for they were to disband within the year, and they rushed out a half baked collection of outtakes and outcasts from "Gazing the Invisible".

Allowing for the inevitable disappointment, the overall sound is still intact, even if harder rock elements are fast encroaching on tracks like "Rat Dance" and "Spiderland", and they sound as depressed as Pink Floyd on "Blazah", while the strings that provided so much relief in every sense of the word have been abandoned. The flutes do remain, especially effective on the two highlights, the back to back brilliant folk rocker "Selfportrait" with its sad yet shape shifting and uplifting tune, and the mostly acoustic title cut, with an intensely tragic character succinctly explaining his plight as he closes:

"They say that I'm cold and I do plead guilty. But you cannot blame me you don't know what I've been through"

Again Promethean closes with the longest cut, and this one is better than the ultimate epic on the previous album. "Pennywhistle" starts off like one might expect given the title, with an almost jig like quality where even the vocals almost sound happy, before entering a plodding instrumental section that segues into hard rock nigh metal before closing out with the opening themes.

If only the sophomore jinx could be handled as well by everyone. "Somber Regards" is effectively a sad farewell for this short lived Finnish group, mixed in quality but with plenty of highlights for those with eclectic tastes.

 Gazing the Invisible by PROMETHEAN album cover Studio Album, 1997
3.30 | 6 ratings

Gazing the Invisible
Promethean Eclectic Prog

Review by kenethlevine
Special Collaborator Prog-Folk Team

4 stars A baker's dozen of stylistic influences and implementations can be discerned from the get-go on this debut by Promethean. The vocals of Timo Iivari recall his metallic origins blended with a slowed down Andy Latimer timbre. There are certainly brief moments of doom metal and even post metal in the mix. The rich strings convey a neo classical air as well as a sad Eastern European motif. The dancing flutes counterbalance the general sad mood with a celebratory Celtic quality while recalling both Camel and Tull among others. The lead guitars again conjure up both Latimer as well as Dave Gilmour, and I feel there are some 1980s alternative pop forays here and there as well. All is filtered through the darkness of winter above the Arctic Circle. Need I go on? Promethean can only be described as eclectic, and their debut is the poster child for this mishmash genre.

In less skilled hands, proponents of polymusic could come across as technical and efficient but utterly devoid of organics. But Promethean makes it work consistently by adjusting the blend from track to track and within tracks. They do so with a sense of the dramatic yet gracefully, and with uncanny melodic instinct. They also seem to have absorbed the music of the ages and the places into their very being. While each track has plenty to offer, their juxtaposition seems caring and adds to the overall value of this fine recording. The production is suitably cavernous, a big yet oddly compressed and intimate sound is achieved which suits the band.

The three tracks "Gazing", "The", and "Invisible" all display the best of the band's considerable arranging talent, and their strings and flutes are particularly prominent, with added heavy and some fuzzy guitars for greater rock impact. The melody on "Invisible" is simply astounding, carried both by strings and winds in turns. The bracketing of nature sounds accentuates the band's vision of music that integrates all aspects of human experience musically and otherwise.

"Don't mind the Dancer" is a hypnotic song with Iivari's best vocal performance and synergy between the bottom heavy arrangement and the omnipresent flutes of Viljami Jauhiainen in the break. "All Blue is Beautiful" is characterized by disjointed spoken words and screeching synths with a more metallic backdrop. "The Kiss of all that Remains" is ambient with its gentle tribal percussion, sinewy flutes and meditative spoken voice as the band broadens its palate. This seems to have been a holdover from their previous incarnation which was already beginning to stretch out beyond metal.

The closer is the epic if you will, and while it contains interesting elements, the speaking voice is growing weary by now, and most themes have already been explored more concisely; in fact several of the themes are revisited verbatim underneath the dripping water motif. Again a case where the reach exceeds the grasp when it comes to longer tracks. The band had proved it could convey an epic atmosphere in 4 minutes over and over again, so why suddenly get long-winded?

Overall, this is a stunning debut by a band that should have had a lot more influence...instead the album remained largely unheard and invisible. Highly recommended.

Thanks to kenethlevine for the artist addition. and to NotAProghead for the last updates

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